New ambulance coming to Orlean Volunteer Fire Department
The Orlean Volunteer Fire Department will soon take custody of a brand new ambulance, the inside of which can be seen here. Courtesy photo
In a few weeks, Orlean residents can expect to see a new ambulance on the roads.
The Orlean Volunteer Fire Department awaits the final touches on a $150,000 replacement for Ambulance 11.
As soon as the emergency stripes and Orlean colors go on the new vehicle, it'll be ready to roll out of the dealership and serve people in and around Orlean, said Capt. Jim Kudla.
The new vehicle will replace an ambulance that has been driving up and down Fauquier roads for over a decade, he said.
In that time, Orlean's ambulance has gotten a little long in the tooth. In addition to the usual mechanical issues that crop up in trucks of that age, the ambulance's electrical systems were straining to meet the demands of the life-saving equipment inside of it, Kudla said.
"That's essentially the reason why we felt it was necessary to get a new ambulance," he said.
Many of the paramedics who crew Fauquier ambulances are paid staff employed by the county. But the volunteer companies buy, maintain and replace those vehicles.
It's a partnership that helps the county stretch its $9 million fire and rescue budget to serve its residents, said Tom Billington, chief of the Fauquier Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management.
"The volunteers own millions of dollars of equipment that otherwise would have to be paid for by taxpayers directly," Billington said.
A new ambulance gives the fire department an opportunity to catch up on a decade of first response innovations.
The new ambulance sports a back compartment designed to protect both patients and EMTs from roll-over crashes, Kudla said.
It will have more efficient electrical system and power-sipping LED (light-emitting diode) lights. It will have as better shock-absorbing gear, so the people in the back aren't jostled around in the middle of emergency procedures while the ambulance races to a hospital.
Those patients will also have an easier time getting into the ambulance. It can "kneel," lowering its back end to accommodate patients on stretchers.
This kind of ambulance, a Horton Emergency Systems vehicle built on a Ford F-450 chassis, already sees use in Marshall and Catlett's rescue squads.
It's part of the Orlean fire department's efforts to build up first response infrastructure in there area of coverage.
Last December, Fauquier supervisors signed off on a plan for a new Orlean fire station near the intersection of Leeds Manor and John Barton Payne roads.
The new station, estimated to cost $5.6 million, will take a few years to fund and build. It will have better facilities for firefighters stationed overnight, and shelter space sufficient for 150 people in the event of a storm or emergency.
"Our goal is to take care of our customers, our neighbors, our community as best as possible," Kudla said. "We have been laying a foundation, making a path towards the future."